New sun dawns on Nepal

Kathmandu, May 17

May 17 will be marked as a red-letter day in Nepal, for seven months after forging an electoral alliance and announcing plans to merge, the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre were today dissolved to form a unified Nepal Communist Party, giving the country a majority government after decades.

The unified party, which was registered with the Election Commission this afternoon following the dissolution of the two parties, has two co-chairpersons —

KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal. It has a nine-member secretariat, 45-member standing committee and 441-member central committee.

Madhav Kumar Nepal is the

senior leader, Narayan Kaji Shrestha spokesperson and Bishnu Poudel general secretary of the NCP. Jhalanath Khanal, Bamdev Gautam, Ram Bahadur Thapa and Ishwar Pokharel have become secretariat members.

In the NCP central committee, 241 members are from the UML and 200 from the CPN-MC.

However, all the central committee members have yet to be finalised, but the UML central committee members and the CPN-MC’s secretariat members signed the unified party’s minute submitted to the Election Commission.

The unified party’s central committee members, who have been finalised so far, took the oath of office and secrecy at Prime Minister Oli’s official residence in Baluwatar before the formal announcement.

With the unification, the central government and provincial governments in six provinces are no longer coalition governments. The NCP now has 174 members in the 275-member House of Representatives, 42 members in the 59-member National Assembly, and has majority in six of the seven provincial assemblies.

“Since the NCP has majority in local, provincial and central governments, the new party will work to formulate policies to attain prosperity,” said Prime Minister Oli addressing an event organised to announce the unification. He added that unification of subordinate committees and sister organisations would be completed within three months.

On public perception over the future of a party with two chairmen, Oli said: “We are not driving a tempo. Flying a jet plane needs two pilots.”

Oli also clarified that the unity was not against anybody, but against poverty, corruption and backwardness. He added that the unification was aimed at realising the goal of sustainable development and upgrading Nepal from its current status of least developed country.

Oli said unification was not a heterogeneous mixture of two parties, but a homogeneous mixture.

Echoing Oli, Dahal said the formation of the NCP after the unification of the UML and CPN-MC was like the formation of water after hydrogen and oxygen are combined.

Stating that the unification heralded a new era of stability and prosperity with social justice in the country, Dahal said, “The newly-formed party is based on the realities of the 21st century, both regional and global.”

Dahal also said that the new party would create a base for socialism.

As per the declaration made public in the same event, the unification is aimed at establishing socialism-oriented society, pursuing foreign relations on the basis of equality, ensuring the government’s effectiveness, realising the goal of development and prosperity and promoting peaceful competition. The declaration adds the NCP is committed to the UN charter, non-aligned movement, and peaceful coexistence.

As per the declaration, the new party will have a common political document on socialism-oriented people’s democracy and will keep ‘people’s multi-party democracy’ and ‘people’s democracy in 21st century’ pending for the first general convention of the unified party. Marxism and Leninism will be the guiding principles of the new party that has sun as its election symbol.

The Party Unification Coordination Committee and respective central committees of the UML and CPN-MC had endorsed the unification deal before dissolving the respective parties earlier in the day.

Road to unification

The unification process between CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre, which appeared to be veering out of track until last week, made a surprising turnaround this week, culminating in a merger of the country’s two biggest left parties. In rapid-fire developments that took place on Thursday, the two parties called a meeting of Party Unification Coordination Committee, finalised the number of central committee members of the unified party, dissolved their existence, formed a new party and initiated the new party’s registration process at the Election Commission. With this, the unification process, which began on October 3, has been completed. The new party has been named Nepal Communist Party. The following are key developments in the run up to unification:

Oct 3 – CPN-UML, CPN-Maoist Centre and Naya Shakti Party Nepal sign a six-point deal to form the left alliance to contest provincial and parliamentary elections

Oct 13 – Naya Shakti Party, led by former Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, quits the alliance over disputes regarding seat sharing in elections

Nov 7 – Leaders of CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre unveil joint election manifesto

Dec 21 – CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli says UML and the Maoist Centre will unify within a couple of days

Feb 15 – Oli becomes the prime minister but the Maoist Centre does not forward names of its members for inclusion in the Cabinet due to differences over power sharing

Feb 19 – CPN-UML and Maoist Centre sign seven-point agreement on modality of unification; agreement states People’s Multiparty Democracy (‘Janata ko Bahudaliya Janawad’ popularly known as Ja-Ba-Ja as propagated by late UML leader Madan Bhandari) and Maoism will be deliberated upon as the ideological lines of the party at the general convention of the unified party

Feb 26 – Members of Maoist Centre join Cabinet

Mar 11 – UML, Maoist Centre may unify on April 22, says Maoist Center leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha

Apr 3 – Two joint task forces are formed to give shape to the merger; parties fail to reach consensus on power-sharing due to Maoists' demand for 50 per cent stake in the new party

Apr 22 – Proposed party merger on Lenin’s birth anniversary fails to take place

Apr 26 – CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal says plots are being hatched to disrupt the unification process

May 12 – Ministers from Maoist Centre boycott civic reception hosted by Kathmandu Metropolitan City in honour of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, exposing rift in left alliance

May 16 – UML and Maoist Centre agree to dissolve their parties on May 17

May 17 – Two parties unify